Half way through the month and the Challenge – and frankly, this week was much more difficult than last, with time being short to prepare meals and several celebratory and social events. The first few days, we did really well and stuck to a yummy routine of variations on grits (thanks Hollygrove!) and eggs with cheese and veggies (shout out to Hollygrove and Crescent City Farmer’s Market) for breakfast, and salads (Rouses Supermarket and home grown) with homemade soup for lunch and salad with local fish (Rouses and several fishermen pals) for dinner. When we went out with friends, we did persuade them to go to places supporting the Challenge – these restaurants had at least one menu item that met the Challenge criteria – but vegetarian/pescetarian options weren’t so plentiful and notably, the ½ price (otherwise fairly pricey) happy hour wines pushed us to cave and cheat. We also went to a Zephyrs game (for those of you non-New Orleanians – this is our minor league baseball team) – local peanuts came with us and the concessions had catfish from Louisiana and Mississippi and Abita Amber – but we know those soft pretzels came from somewhere else far away. Sigh.
One group of folks here have labeled themselves the “Supernaturals” and are tracking the Eat Local experience on their Facebook page. The’ve made all sorts of fun foods too – from pizza to stuffed peppers. Check it out if you get a chance.
Our highlights this week included a fantastic fresh Creole tomato salad with homegrown herbs and locally-made goat cheese, sautéed spicy shrimp and veggie lettuce wraps (still haven’t been successful with making bread, but we are having fun with flat breads and lettuce replacements) a fresh tuna tarragon pasta salad (Rouses was featuring a locally-caught whole yellowfin tuna in the case this week and we made more of our own pasta) and perhaps my favorite – a cajun crab cake over fresh grilled corn in an herbed cream sauce.
The home and local gardens have been a huge contributor – from herbs to greens and other veggies. It would be very difficult to purchase all these items just from the supermarkets (though many are boosting their local inventory – including Rouses with their Roots on the Rooftop recirculating farm!). Hopefully New Orleans and other cities will pass new regulations and contribute to the push for nationwide changes to promote growth of urban farms of all kinds, so we can have more fresh, locally-grown foods available in every community. This is something the Recirculating Farms Coalition is working on in partnership with a variety of other organizations and individuals. Events like the Locavore Challenge help to highlight how important accessibility and affordability of fresh local food is – so, many thanks to them for organizing the Challenge and to everyone participating.
Check in next Thursday as we wind down week 3!